Hutchings PC image campaign focuses on quality community care
By DEBORAH A. MILES
On billboards facing traffic all around Syracuse, residents and visitors are seeing positive messages about the Richard H. Hutchings Psychiatric Center. The main theme on these billboards is “Hope, Promise and Compassion, When It Matters Most.”
The more than 200 PEF members at Hutchings PC, which provides inpatient and outpatient services for children and adults, want the public to know Hutchings PC still provides quality services to the community, and is still the number one choice for residents in five counties since 1972.
“Some folks don’t know that Hutchings still exists,” said Council Leader Gina Corona, a licensed master social worker 2 who works with children. “Any time you have quality services in a community, you don’t want to see those services diminished. I work with a core group of folks who are extremely talented, caring and giving. They want to help children.
“Over the last few years, every state budget cycle has had a different vision that somehow phases out the work that Hutchings does with children. There have been mergers, the Centers of Excellence Plan that had major changes in state-operated mental health services, and some discussion on the Hutchings children’s inpatient unit potentially being taken over by SUNY Upstate Medical College.”
Corona said the image and awareness campaign, which was overwhelmingly supported by PEF’s Executive Board in early 2017, which voted to spend $45,000 on this campaign, is a necessary step to ensure quality services remain in the community.
“It is time for us to regain being the frontrunner for everything we worked to accomplish,” Corona said.
She said the state Office of Mental Health has reduced the number of inpatient beds at Hutchings and is attempting to close a treatment unit to address the problems of short staffing, which is not the best solution for the community.
“The greater Syracuse community needs these services. Parents want to be with their children, and not have to drive an hour or more to visit. These kids are being placed in other hospitals and wards such as adult or oncology units and are not getting the immediate treatment they require or deserve.”
Corona, who has taken the lead on the campaign suffered a personal medical setback, but is now able to move forward with her PEF Division 301 members to fully engage the community in the value of Hutchings PC.
Plans are in the works to participate in various community events such as joint sponsorship between Hutchings and PEF in the local corporate challenge, and a major event to be held this year.
Corona said, “We needed to take the initiative and let the community know Hutchings is still here, right where it should be, and serving children and their families with quality services.”